Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Wooden Finger Five – June 2016

James Blake tends to repeat phrases several times.
James Blake tends to repeat phrases several times.
James Blake tends to repeat
He tends to repeat
Oh yes he repeats his phrases several times.
Now this is more like it. After two decades without new music, the return track for the Stone Roses ‘All For One’ was a bit of a disappointment; a friend of mine described it as a Britpop trying to sound like the Stone Roses. ‘Beautiful Thing’ is not as great as their greatest classics, but it’s closer to what I was hoping for when I heard the band was writing new songs. Basically it’s a better version of Ian Brown’s solo stuff. My hopes for the new album are up again.
3.A Moon-Shaped Pool: album – Radiohead
It took a while before I could hear this album – it’s pretty good, with a few really good tracks on it. It’s similar in style and quality to their last album – ‘The King of Limbs’ – but probably a little better. It’s a bit of a shame though, that after it looked like on ‘In Rainbows’ they were going to blend together their ‘early’ sound and ‘later’ sound that they have retreated back into Thom Yorke moody electronica again. Indeed at this point the rock sound of ‘The Bends’, ‘Pablo Honey, and even ‘OK Computer’ is now the exception in Radiohead’s career; ‘Kid A’ has proved to be much more the blueprint. Still a new Radiohead album is better than most of the music out there, and tracks like ‘Burn The Witch’, ‘Identikit’, and ‘The Numbers’ are up there with the better tracks in their catalogue.
Just when I thought the Strokes were basically done as a band they have returned with an EP ‘Future Present Past’ which I think is their most consistent work in over a decade. Although perhaps it is their most consistent because it is only three tracks (and one remix) long; I’ve found the Strokes’ past few albums have tended to contain about three good tracks each. Nevertheless it’s the first time in a long while I’ve listened through a whole Strokes release and not at some point wishing I was listening to one of their first two albums instead.
‘What side are you standing on?’ wails Julian Casablancas repeatedly throughout the chorus of ‘Oblivius’, which is a typically pointed Strokes lyric, but one which seems to have a bit more weariness about it. After the second chorus we hear a tinny guitar solo that recalls the one from Daft Punk’s ‘Digital Love’, which I once saw described as Elmo jamming with Van Halen. The remix by drummer Fab Moretti at the end of the EP is just as good as the original, and amazingly for me for a remix doesn’t feel at all redundant.
‘If you’re just really into rock music,’ said Sara Quin, ‘or pissed off that I’m not wearing a hoodie and have a symmetrical haircut, then I’m sorry but that version doesn’t exist anymore.’ But it’s hard to imagine too many fans that at least like a bit of pop music hating the twins’ latest album.
‘Boyfriend’, even in 2016, is a little bit different to your usual pop song though. ‘You treat me like your boyfriend’, says the singer to her wannabe girlfriend, ‘And trust me like a very best friend … But I don’t want to be your secret anymore’. As the NME album review noted, it’s a bit of a riposte to the cherry chapstick-tasting narrator of ‘I Kissed a Girl’. But its tune will appeal to all types of persuasions.
There are heaps of other great tracks on their new album ‘Love You To Death’ as well. I almost bumped ‘Boyfriend’ as my choice for the pulsating ‘U-Turn’. ‘100X’ is another semi-classic. I’ve never really listened that much to their back catalogue so I’m less likely to be ‘pissed off’ by their new direction as some long-time fans may be. With no clear alternative coming to mind this could be the current frontrunner for my favourite album of the year.

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